A few words about…™ The Pink Panther Collection — in Blu-ray

Recommended 4.5 Stars

Shout Factory has released the six Pink Panther films on Blu-ray. Five of them available for the first time, as part of their Select label, and some niggling quality issues aside, the films are more than worth the $60 price of admission. This is especially true, as the original Blu release alone is priced at $35.

The basis of the series, Blake Edwards’ original comedy stunner (1963) was photographed in TLA (8-perf), but the image harvest is from a 35mm reduction element. Released in early 2009, the film looks better than fine, without ever appearing special.

Bits of detritus can be occasionally seen from both the original negative as well as the IP. In addition, optical wet gate anomalies make a guest appearance. More obvious in a 4k up-rez than originally in HD.

Its should be noted, for clarity, that Mr. Sellers passed away in July of 1980, and the final film in the series, which was his final “appearance,” was created from B neg, trims, and outs.

The five films that followed, The Pink Panther, all seem to be older transfers, with acceptable image quality.

Regardless of that quality, the films remain one of the great testaments to not only Mr. Sellers’ extraordinary comedic abilities (“does your doog bite?” “that is not my minky…”), but of comedy as seen through the eyes of Blake Edwards during that era.

A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

Image – 4

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 4

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.5

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

Image – 3.5

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3

Pass / Fail – Pass

The Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

Image – 3.75

Audio – 5

4k Up-rez – 3.755

Pass / Fail – Pass

Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

administrator

41 Comments

  1. Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

  2. lark144

    Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

    Yup. Ordered it immediately.

  3. I'm looking forward to getting my set soon…although I think the first 3 movies are heads and shoulders above the rest…I remember seeing Shot in the Dark and Return of the Pink Panther first run theatrically…Return of the Pink Panther was a very pleasant surprise that recaptured the lovable spirit of the much earlier films…it was full of laughs…perhaps the biggest laugh of all which rocked the theater audience was found in the opening animated sequence…where the Pink Panther takes his turn as a Julie Andrews knock off in a Sound of Music parody…love it!

  4. Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

  5. lark144

    Of course I have already pre-ordered this, as I imagine has most everyone on this forum. I was especially interested in the visual quality of THE RETURN, as it had an especially beautiful "lensing" (as they used to write in "Variety") by Geoffrey Unsworth. Should I dare say "boffo lensing?"

    Please tell me you're referring to FILMJUNK.

  6. Larry Geller

    Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

    But not a clue. Possibly the laser was a mix-down.

  7. Larry Geller

    Robert, why has the original true stereo track for The Pink Panther gone missing? My original, pan & scan, non-digital, non-CX 20th Century Fox laserdisc is in stereo (as is Bananas), but ALL subsequent releases, on any platform, are mono, or fake-stereoize the mono track. I guarantee that the box will not have it in stereo. What gives here?

    Shout! Factory's website indicates a DTS:MA 5.1 track for The Pink Panther; whether that is "fake" stereo or not remains to be seen.

  8. I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

  9. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans.

    Not to say that it can't happen but I can't really remember a time when Shout released a box set and then released them as singles. The closest thing I can think of is from the Halloween box set where they did release the 'producer's cut' disc of Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers on its own but the rest of the discs that were new in the box set remained exclusive to that set.

  10. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

    But how much are you willing to pay for individual releases of the 3 that you want? $15 a piece? That's $45 and chances are you will eventually be able to buy the whole box for that price on sale.

  11. a) The Pink Panther was released in mono theatrically. Any stereo home video release was done for home video.

    b) I saw a really early sneak preview of Return of the Pink Panther – I don't even think it had the animated titles yet, but I could be wrong about that. What it did have was one unfunny scene after another – horrible – after the initial delight of seeing Sellers it was all downhill. After that, they reshot a lot of stuff and it played better, but never as well as the first two.

  12. Typically CBS Fox (or just Fox in this case since Pink Panther came out on laserdisc back when CBS was still partnered with MGM) would label a stereo release from them in bold italics on the front cover. That labeling is not present on the Pink Panther.

    Also…Bananas was in Stereo? I thought Woody Allen was a staunch mono guy until Philip Glass dragged him kicking and screaming into the multitrack era in 2008.

  13. Thomas T

    I really wish Shout Factory had given these titles a separate release also. I'm really only interested in three of the six titles. My fear is that I'll buy the set only to have it announced a year later of individual releases from new 4K scans. Unlike (apparently) some members here, I don't have the deep pockets to keep buying the same titles over and over again. 🙁

    I applaud Shout Factory for this package; but I also agree with Thomas T, as I wouldn't mind the options of picking, choosing and going along at my own pace, as well. It would be nice if the initial releases of any boxed set; from all distributors; came on the same day with the individual titles. Wouldn't everyone win with this plan in place?

  14. I find this interesting for several reasons.
    First of all that this set is advertised as featuring 4K interpositive transfers for Shot, Strikes Again and Revenge. This seemed odd to me because MGM has been sitting on HD masters for all of the films based on prior materials used for DVD and Laserdisc, and these have aired on HDTV channels for years. I had thus expected this set to be a repackage of the original BD of Pink Panther plus proper disc versions of the pre-existing masters. Of these only Return got a release overseas, from the master Universal did in about 2006 or so for the remastered DVD.
    Second, it's interesting to hear about a possible stereo track fro the original film. I remember being quite surprised to suddenly see the Technirama credit, and have wondered about a stereo track ever since. The 5.1 remixes are pretty bad-done for the 2004 DVD set.

  15. I recall the 2004 set having excellent (for the time) masters for the first film, Revenge, and Trail, while Shot and Strikes Again had a lot of edge enhancement and filtering. Odd since they were the only two that had anamorphic stand-alone DVDs before this set – the original pre-box set DVDs of the first film and Revenge were non-anamorphic. I never saw the Artisan release of Return, but the Focus DVD looked quite nice.

  16. Mr. Harris, Shout! stated A Shot in The Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again are new 4K transfers from the interpositives. I think you made a mistake when you said they were previous transfers.

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

  17. Nailwraps

    Mr. Harris, Shout! stated A Shot in The Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again are new 4K transfers from the interpositives. I think you made a mistake when you said they were previous transfers.

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

    I'm aware. They've given me that info. When I gave a moment, I'll take another peek.

  18. Nailwraps

    Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

    This is definitely an issue. The "Stereo" and "Mono" tracks on "Strikes Again" are actually both mono, and both are at a lower pitch, with the music sounding almost a full half-step down.

  19. Mine arrived today, and the packaging is lovely. It's been a while since any blu-ray or DVD collection had a booklet, which is something I miss. Looking forward to enjoying these films over the next few weeks.

  20. I got the set and have gone through the first three films. There are two negatives I have to report:

    1-I have noticed with Shout! movie releases that whenever I stop the film it will NOT do a "resume playback" but will default back to the beginning. This happened to me on their release of "Capricorn One" and its even more distracting here when I'm trying to go through the films twice (a second time for the commentary track). Have others noticed this with other Shout! movie releases?

    2-A giant thumbs down to the Jason Simos commentaries on "A Shot In The Dark" and "Return." His commentary is shockingly spartan and gives me far less information about the production than I was expecting to hear. When I listen to a commentary track I do not want to hear the commentator go silent and laugh at the on-screen action/gags. That's what I watched the film once for.

    The transfers look good and the Dick Cavett Show extra on "A Shot In The Dark" is *really* important because the blooper outtakes Edwards shares includes a scene that was cut from the film where Clouseau recaps what happened at the nudist camp to Dreyfuss. It's a funny scene in its own right leading up to when Sellers breaks up but I understand why it was cut from a pacing standpoint since it just recapped the action we saw on-screen.

  21. Simos did a little better on "Strikes Again" because its clear that's the film he enjoys most. Maynard's commentaries for "Revenge" and "Trail" were better to the extent that whenever he talked, the information was good but he also had a habit of going silent for VERY long stretches and that's why I'm glad for all three of these films I chose to watch the commentary tracks only and not waste extra time watching the film first and then the commentary all the way through as I did with the first three films.

    I have to note some things about "Trail." I knew that all the outtakes were originally for "Strikes Again" but one detail I read about on-line that Maynard didn't mention was that Edwards apparently was hoping to use outtakes from "Return" for additional scenes and one comment by Maynard confirmed that when he noted that Edwards had initially cast the two actors who had been Lugash officials in "Return", Peter Arne and Gregoire Aslan for "Trail", clearly with the intent to use them for linking footage to "Return" outtakes (notwithstanding that Arne's character is shot dead at the end of "Return"). But Aslan died before production on "Trail" began and it turned out Edwards was unable to secure the rights to use the "Return" outtakes so you had Arne appearing to look different from "Return" as it wasn't necessary any longer to match him to older footage (in contrast to how Colin Blakely filmed one new scene to link his outtake scenes from "Strikes Again").

    Watching "Trail" all the way through for the first time in 35 years, it's amazing how unwatchable the film is once the outtakes end. The tribute portion is weak since many of the old scenes like the "FACTS, Hercule, FACTS!" one don't register out of context but when the "tribute" portion ends and the last half hour becomes an incomprehensible storyline centered around Lumley I got a reminder of how the last 50 minutes of "Trail" were viewed in stony silence by the theater audience I saw it with in 1982 (there is not a single thing funny about Richard Mulligan's scene as Clouseau's father).

    The real pity is that we didn't get to see longer recuts of "Strikes Again" etc. with the outtakes put back in because a couple of them, like the airplane sequence really would have worked (though I can tell why Harvey Korman's scene as Professor Balls was cut because it lands with a giant thud). That would have been a lot more interesting ultimately.

  22. I'm not familiar with any TV edit of "Strikes Again" that used outtakes later seen in Trail. "Trail" has a longer version of a scene that was in the original cut of "Strikes Again" with Clouseau outside the door to his apartment getting his pants caught in the door but all of the other scenes had never appeared before in any known cut of "Strikes Again" even though that's what they were first shot for.

  23. The films all look pretty good except for the SHOT IN THE DARK. It is very dupey and muddy. I always remember the DVD looking excellent. For some reason, the oldest, the original PINK PANTHER looks the best. It is stunning. The commentaries are good — when the person speaks. He goes silent through 90 percent of the films for some reason. The extras are pretty good.

  24. David Mahlan

    Ack … that's disappointing. But thanks for the reply!

    All scores are downloadable from iTunes, but those of course leave off many of the very short cues and cost more than an isolated track on each disc would (which is zero).

  25. warnerbro

    The films all look pretty good except for the SHOT IN THE DARK. It is very dupey and muddy. I always remember the DVD looking excellent. For some reason, the oldest, the original PINK PANTHER looks the best. It is stunning. The commentaries are good — when the person speaks. He goes silent through 90 percent of the films for some reason. The extras are pretty good.

    Pink Panther is 35/8

  26. Nailwraps

    Mr. Harris, Shout! stated A Shot in The Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again are new 4K transfers from the interpositives. I think you made a mistake when you said they were previous transfers. Incidentally, I got the set last week (thanks early 2 week shipping Shout!) and it's absolutely wonderful. The only gripe is that The Pink Panther Strikes Again's Stereo and Mono mixes are low pitched. The 5.1 track however is in the correct pitch.

    I started to watch Strikes Again (my favorite) in the default 5.1 mode, and was immediately disappointed by a sound-mix flaw in an early scene. After Clousea knocks Dreyfuss into the pond with a croquet ball, helps him out, and gets on top of him to "pump" the water out ("Out with the bad air, in with the good!"), two nearby women witness this seemingly "inappropriate" behavior. One of them walks over and smacks Clouseau on the head with her purse, yelling "Perverts!" However, the sound effect heard when she hits him is the one originally recorded on location, which is a very wimpy "tap" sound. The sound effect that was supposed to be heard (and is correct on the stereo and mono tracks) is a very loud—and painful-sounding—THWACK!, with a "metalic" clang to it, as though the woman carries a bunch of silverware in her purse. That sound effect was the "punchline" to that gag, and simply doesn't work as-is.

    Although the stereo (barely?) and mono tracks are accurate for that scene, I did also notice that the mix levels don't seem quite right, with the music too low in some places. I gave up watching shortly after that point, so I wonder if there are any other similar audio problems. I'm going to start watching the films in order, so maybe others will discover additional problems and post their findings on Strikes Again. I'd like to think Shout might need to take a look at fixing the problem.

  27. Any Blu-ray is only as good as the film element, and the transfer from which it is derived.

    A new 4k transfer is nice, as an image can be down-rezzed more properly than one derived from 2k.

    However, these new transfer are from IPs, and an IP must be from a superior quality to enable a quality Blu-ray.

    The IPs in question are okay, but not superior.

    The new transfers have not been image stabilized, nor digitally cleaned of minus and / or plus density detritus, and are inclusive of brief, but obvious color and density shifts, whether from the OCN being copied, or from the exposure / processing of the IPs.

    There are caveats here, that must also be understood.

    Image stabilization means that the resultant data will be very slightly cropped on all four sides. Would the viewer notice this?

    No.

    Image stabilization also means that the image will appear less film-like, as a projected film image, especially from a dupe, will wander about the screen a bit.

    My ratings stand, regardless of a new 4k scan.

    They are not up to 2017 quality. Nor 2007.

    RAH

  28. I was hoping the vertical stretch on the original 'Panther' would've been corrected for this release, but alas it seems not. This was one of many otherwise nice fresh transfers that MGM did of their vintage UA titles in the late 2000s were they could not for the life of them get the geometry right (In the Heat of the Night, The Apartment, The Big Country, probably others I'm forgetting).

    I would hope that Shout would at least rectify the botched audio tracks on 'Strikes Again', but I guess we'll see.

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